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Louis van Gaal slams Pep Guardiola’s style of play

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During an interview with France Football, Louis van Gaal harshly criticized Pep Guardiola’s lack of respect for his opponents.

Pep Guardiola and Louis van Gaal’s stories have been linked since the Manchester City manager played for him at FC Barcelona.

From that moment forward, they developed a relatively good relationship that has cooled down over the years due to lack of contact.

The Dutch manager was coming from a very successful period at PSV Eindhoven, he coached the Catalan club with relative success but he was part of Barcelona’s dark ages.

After Van Gaal left the club, Pep Guardiola made the decision to leave as well in pursuit of his own style of play that would help him become a manager.

Nobody ever imagined that Pep would become one of the very best in the world at his job, but that also came with many of his peers becoming critics of his work.

This opened up a very heated debate in the world of football, one that clashed two very different styles against each other.

It was Pep Guardiola’s tiki-taka, versus the more pragmatic or tactical approach from other managers.

The inevitable comparison was with Jose Mourinho, both managers were considered the Ying and Yang of football for many years, especially when they coached rival clubs in the same country.

There was a time that this debate became so polarized, that everybody wanted to give their two cents on who did it better.


Van Gaal clearly picked Mourinho’s side.

Even though Louis van Gaal is a Dutchman as Johan Cruyff was, his style veered far away from the Total Football school that the late great manager taught in Barcelona.

Louis proved that he could also win many titles by using his more pragmatic style, which resembles a lot to Jose Mourinho’s tactics from today.

In fact, Mou and Van Gaal are very good friends due to this similar philosophy. This good relationship was reflected on Thursday during an interview that Louis offered to France Football where he goes after Guardiola.

“Winning the Premier League for the second time in a row is fantastic,” said Van Gaal to France Football via Diario Sport.

“Guardiola won everything that a manager could win in England, but the Champions League is the highest level.”

“He didn’t win that trophy with either City or Bayern. This is the consequence of being too preoccupied for your own squad’s game and not the opponent’s.”

“You must always respect your opponent. Guardiola and Ten Hag have squads with great qualities that can be used against their national rivals.”

“But this doesn’t apply in the Champions League. Mourinho is a much more tactical manager.”

“Guardiola is too, but he is much more offensive. Mou is more focused on the defense.”

Guardiola is also defensive.

This is where we have to disagree with Louis van Gaal, Pep Guardiola is not more offensive than defensive.

Even though he does love going on the attack quite a bit, this is not the only quality he has.

Pep understands perfectly that he always needs to keep a balance between his attacking players and the defensive ones.

The problem with Guardiola’s recent Champions League failures is that he hasn’t been fortunate enough to have his defenders at the top of their level.

Every single time that he got eliminated in the competition, you can easily spot defensive mistakes from his players that cost his teams the competition.

Guardiola knows he needs to have the best defenders at his disposal, this is what Louis van Gaal fails to understand about his former pupil.

After understanding this, we can also say that the debate between Guardiola’s style and defensive football will always attract a lot of attention.

This new season will be another opportunity that Pep Guardiola will have to try and win the Champions League, his defensive players will play a major role in the competition.

Why do you think Louis van Gaal decided to go after Pep Guardiola like this? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.